February 01, 2002

Confide in me

How much do you rely on the Internet for any kind of satisfaction, solutions to problems. Was going through Heather Corinna's weekly editorial after a long time. It is on how everyone including magazines and websites are peddling sex advice, which is mostly bad [Nice touch on the article though, she starts it with the Buddha quote: My teaching is like a finger pointing to the moon. Do not mistake the finger for the moon]. If you ask me it is not only sex advice that is proliferating on the Net, almost every aspect of life from porn to philosophy is covered on numerous chat rooms to nondescript Instant messenger windows.

I started my chat life on IRC a few years back. Accidentally got hooked on to one of the major Indian chat sites while I was in Bombay for a while on some official business and basically had nothing to do because we were closing down our division there [a very common event if you are a dotcommie :(] As a direct result I signed up for my first Hotmail account so that I can communicate with most other people there as they use the MSN messenger, got myself a fancy id, learnt to flirt without making it obvious that I was trying to, role play at its awesome best.

Since then I have been privy to more than quite a few private lives, scandals, secrets, joys of strangers who might not even be what I think they are and even the odd brush with cybersex in the early days. I have had my share of good pals [met one of the my best real world pals in there :) ] and I still miss a few great strangers who have disappeared without a trace. Turn around! the person standing behind you could be that stranger who has a more than decent idea about you, who you are and your life. Strange innit?

Well, the dark sides also are there, it happened from an inane ex fellow slave with whom I happened to chat a long time after he had left us. He had quite a few nasty things to say about my bosses and my gut feeling told me that something was amiss. I kept my trap shut while he was foul mouthing my bosses and I just laughed along.

Next day, I see the whole chat transcript has been mailed to everyone in out dept. Thankfully, I had said nothing that I have not said before [phew!]. But yep, it was embarrassing and more than the embarrassment, it took away my trust from him forever.

From one angle IM is the biggest revolution in communication that has happened in a while now but on the other it has also ruined quite a few lives and as far as I know it has managed to wreck quite a few relationships that have started and flourished in the real world. So after 52 additions to my MSN buddylist I am still not sure of what should I believe. Maybe like everything else I should just remain neutral, take in the good and forget the bad. :)

How do you make news out of something that is a fact and hardly any news? El Reg [courtesy Newsforge] reports today that Out of the box, Linux is 'dreadfully insecure'. I say bah! Tell me something new. Any sysadmin worth his name will never do anything other than a basic install and then rebuild all of the components. If he does not do that, he has no business being there. Period :) Crappy journalism I say.

This story: AOL blocks Trillian IM access is just another reason why no single company should be in control of what, why and how you get to see and access whatever you do on the Net. The product in question is the excellent Trillian Instant Messenger [The best integrated IM compared to all the Jabber variants and even the original Yahoo, MSN and AOL versions. Better still, it even does IRC :)] which AOL had blocked for allowing 128 bit encrypted user to user messaging. A while back I remember a related post on K5 where AOL had blocked a private Jabber SNMP server. Not a good sign.

NewsBytes reports today that Confiscated PC Reveals Terrorist Focus On Water Supply. The report mentions that FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center has evidence to this effect from a system they had confiscated. I have been pondering a while on the possibilities on Governments using water supply to effect mind control of the populace. Paranoia at X Files levels? But quite a possible scary scenario methinks :-|

I do not own an Apple computer [have worked on one though] never an AMD powered one.... but by Good Lord this troll rocks!